Murray Bauman is first introduced in season 2 of Stranger Things as a former investigative journalist hired to solve Barb’s disappearance in season 1. He makes quite the entrance with his gusto, eccentricity, and his awkward, inopportune ability to point out sexual tensions between other characters.
In the recently released season 4, viewers are pleased to see him still the same loud, sarcastic, problem-solving Murray who tells people like it is. Season 4 forces him to team up with Joyce, creating an unlikely duo who work surprisingly well together. Many viewers theorize he could be next on the show’s kill list, but because Murray has become one of the show’s funniest and most likable supporting characters, inspiring a number of excellent memes that sum him up well, his death would come as a huge tragedy.
Murray The Cupid
Murray is known to involve himself in what he once called “lovers’ quarrels.” He first intervenes with Jonathan and Nancy, then later with Joyce and Hopper on multiple occasions. He’s a blunt and tough-talking man, so his involvement is his way of getting straight to the point.
However, because of his bristly, turbulent manner, it’s easy to overlook his sensitivity. There are moments when he actually cares, even when it comes to matters of the heart. Murray seems like the kind of guy that would not meddle with something he did not believe in, so viewers love him more for his honesty which serves as an impetus in bringing two characters together.
A Quick Fix
When Murray needs a second to think through something, he almost always needs to drink about it first. It’s his signature move whenever he gets a visitor or has an unsuspecting phone call.
Viewers get the sense that through his stressful days as an investigative journalist, Murray has seen some unusual and horrific things and this is his way of taking the edge off. What makes it an even funnier character quirk is that it seems to work. Having a drink seems to slow down his natural chaotic state and help him come up with quick, sharp fixes.
The Dynamic Duo
Typically holed up in his home with the security system making it seem like a bunker, Murray is a bit of a loner. He is not known for pleasantries or small talk. In fact, his resting state tends to be yelling or complaining about why a four-year-old is speaking to him. But he warms to Alexei’s meek, somewhat innocent demeanor pretty seamlessly.
While short-lived, it was a Stranger Things friendship no one saw coming, especially due to Murray’s anti-social nature. In fact, it opened up a softer, gentler side of Murray that viewers and characters alike do not see very often. In this friendship, it is discovered that Murray genuinely enjoys teaching. He takes pride in offering what he knows in the hopes others may learn something.
Love For Steve
Granted, when Murray says this, he has of course never met Steve. He simply stating tropes he deduces from Nancy and Jonathan’s tangled romantic connection and he does so in his natural witty, sarcastic way.
This meme is clever in that it invokes the unsuspecting moral development in a character that most viewers did not see coming. Steve had one of the best character arcs, turning from immature jock to protective hero, and this meme calls out the judgment viewers were quick to dole out to Steve while also reminding them of Murray’s straight-laced way of speaking.
Supporting Character Turned Fan Favorite
Murray Bauman’s character was only turned into a series regular between seasons 3 and 4. This often happens when a character turns out to be more compelling and popular than the creators originally intended or thought, and Brett Gelman as Murray was easily one of the best performances. in Stranger Things 4.
Murray is the kind of character whose likability sneaks up on viewers in that it’s a slow burn. He showed a lot of growth and that he has many sides to just being awkward comic relief. He keeps the audience on their toes with his unpredictability and can be counted on for a good laugh.
The CIA Assassin In Him
Murray is a Stranger Things side character with main character energy, and perhaps one of the funniest things examples in season 4 that prove this is that “his fingers are like arrows, his arms like iron, and his feet like spears.” He spends a lot of season 4 telling Joyce about his karate lessons, but not actually putting them to practice. That is, until crunch time when he and Joyce are trapped in a flying plane with their captor Yuri.
Overall, the audience witnesses yet another side to Murray, and it is satisfying to watch him hold his own physically. They know he’s smart and deductive, but he doesn’t seem like much of a physical fighter. It’s a real treat to watch him not only protect Joyce but also whip out his karate skills and come out on top on his own.
Murray is obviously very intelligent. He’s bilingual (so far as viewers know, maybe more), he’s an investigative journalist so he’s good at piecing information together, and he picks up on body language. But like all smart people, sometimes they do not know their own strengths. In a pivotal moment, he can not remember Planck’s constant, a fact he thought he committed to memory.
The meme not only calls out twenty-first-century privilege but reminds the audience that even the smartest people in the room can learn from others. In a way, it keeps Murray humble to know that an adolescent has this number committed to memory more than he does.
Murray has proved numerous times that he is not only good but smooth under pressure. His Russian comes in handy sneaking into the bunker in season 3 and in the most recent season when he and Joyce sneak into the prison in Kamchatka. Compare his coolness to both Joyce and Hopper who could look guiltier in these instances.
He’s fast on his feet, giving viewers the impression that he can talk himself into or out of anything. The audience can assume Murray developed these people skills from his years of investigative journalism, but nonetheless, his storyline continues to prove how much they all need him.
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